The Tragedy of George W. Bush
By Shira Sorko-Ram
President George W. Bush is a good man. He is an honest man. He came to his office with a strong testimony as a born-again Christian. It is said that he had Bibles in his offices and that he participated in many prayer meetings. He stood with Israel through thick and thin.
As for Israel, he gave her the chance to crush the Hezbollah terrorist infrastructure during the Lebanese War while the world howled for Israel to retreat from the Hezbollah attacks. (Israel failed miserably because of her own flaws.)
Yet, today, as he prepares to leave the White House, Bush has a 25% approval rating. Economically, America has fallen into a black hole and few Americans or nations will recall with fondness his presidency.
For a start, these are no ordinary times, and I doubt if any president could have handled things much better under the circumstances. What president would want a 9/11, an Iraq War, a Hurricane Katrina, and finally a ’08 world-wide economic crash?
When Bush became president, America was not expecting 9/11 and it caught him and the nation completely off guard. It was at this time that Bush made his first mistake of destiny; he never figured out who the enemy was. He began to chase after “terror“ - which left him at a tremendous disadvantage.
Daniel Pipes, founder of the Middle East Forum and recognized as one of Harvard University’s 100 most influential living graduates, is a profoundly authoritative commentator on the Middle East. His insight is not politically correct, but he holds the foundational key to the wars America and the West are fighting.
Explains Pipes: “To speak of a ‘war on terrorism’ is a little like speaking about a war on weapons of mass destruction. One needs to know who owns or is deploying these weapons, and for what reason.” Already, in January 2002, Pipes wrote, “Who, then is the enemy? The message of September 11 was loud and clear, allowing for no ambiguity: the enemy is militant Islam.” Pipes warned that it poses the same kind of threat to the West as Communism before it, but the scale of the danger is much greater because of its religious fanaticism.
In analyzing the dilemma, he estimates the Islamist elements to constitute some 10-15 percent of the total Muslim world population of roughly one billion - that is, some 100 to 150 million violent militants whose goal it is to achieve global supremacy over all other civilizations and religions. Its primary target is the West, with America and Israel the bulls eye.
Pipes concludes that if the U.S. has over 100 million Islamist enemies (not to speak of an even larger number of Muslims who wish us ill on assorted other grounds), they cannot all be incapacitated. Instead, the goal must be to deter and contain them. Militant Islam is too popular and widespread to be destroyed militarily. It can only be fended off. His entire article can be read on Pipes website at www.danielpipes.org/article/103.
One of our own Israeli journalists explains it simply: The enemy was, and remains, Islamism, but Bush defined the enemy as terror. (UPFront, Jerusalem Post, 24Oct08)
But the president was culturally unable to acknowledge that the U.S. and all democratic nations have 100 million sworn enemies of the Islamic religion who are bent on destroying Western civilization. He fell into the same ideological trap as has Jimmy Carter - believing Islam to be a
When Bush sent U.S. forces into Iraq, he was sure its citizens would be forever thankful that he had come to liberate them from a terrible tyrant. He did not understand that Muslims see themselves as disciples of a far superior religion and are committed to Mohammed’s prophetical utterances that in the end of days it is Islam that is destined to take over the world by the sword.
Bush could not comprehend a cultural mindset so perverse and unyielding and arrogant - that its adherents would rather harm themselves than be liberated by “infidels”. Bush’s advisors didn’t inform him that Iraqis, to whom he was bringing peace and security and democracy, would find him a frontal embarrassment to the supremacy of Islam.
A SECOND CALAMITY
And then another cataclysmic force hurled itself onto the shores of America. A city was obliterated. The Homeland Security department was formed as a result of the Islamic terrorist attack of 9/11, but a single act of nature, Katrina, again humiliated the Bush administration and the American people. Disaster came and no one (except the church) knew what to do.
It seems to me that America’s cup of sin has filled so close to the rim that no president, whoever he might have been, could foresee and correctly react to the onslaught of tragedies - floods, tornadoes and fires across the nation.
America has been blessed with such abundance that she forgot her God - just as did Israel and Judah, so poignantly recorded in the Bible. When a nation turns from God, He lifts his protection and allows its enemies to attack. This is an ABC Biblical truth. The Scriptures portray it so clearly; it was only after lengthy and enormous tragedy enveloped God’s chosen people, did a remnant decide to turn back to God. (There was, of course, always a godly remnant, but the nation as a whole had forgotten its Source.)
I would go as far to say that because Bush was a godly ruler, the Lord restrained Islamic and natural forces that could have caused even greater catastrophe. The Bible teaches us that when there is a righteous ruler, the Lord is merciful to a nation. The opposite happens when unrighteousness rules.
A TERRIBLE MISTAKE
Nevertheless, Bush personally made another serious strategic error - this one inexcusable for a born-again believer who reads the Bible daily.
It was the fateful day of June 24, 2002 when President George W. Bush became the first American president to declare that he was ready to divide the land of Israel into a Jewish state and a Muslim state. “The United States of America,” he said, “will support the creation of a Palestinian state.”
It is true that Israel’s politicians for the last few years are themselves ready to divide Israel. Israeli leaders do not see any other way to keep Israel as a democratic and a Jewish state. If Israel were to officially annex the West Bank as part of Israel, then as a democracy she would have to give all the Arab Muslims (hostile to Israel) citizenship, and Israel would instantly cease to be a Jewish state. It is a quandary that no one, absolutely no one, can solve except the God of Israel.
Nevertheless, the Bible says:
…I will judge them [the nations] for harming my people, for scattering my inheritance among the nations, and for dividing up my land. Joel 3:1-16
Because God gave the land as an everlasting inheritance to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it is foolhardy for any nation to attempt to overturn God’s express will - even if it sees itself as the strongest nation in the world. How can a born-again Christian expect the Lord to excuse his failure to heed the prophet’s warning simply because he didn’t “understand” what the Bible says?Surely, he would have had some pro-Israeli advisors who knew their Bibles.
Can there be any spiritual connection to the fact that at that very time the U.S. began receiving
intelligence concerning Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction? On October 7, 2002, Bush announced he had overwhelming evidence of such weapons. That intelligence drove him and his army and allies into a war for which America was completely unprepared.
Whether Saddam did or did not have WMD’s is beside the point. The Americans and their allies failed to find weapons of mass destruction while over 4000 American lives have been lost.
Today, the Islamic powers that covet world domination are centered in Afghanistan, Pakistan
and Iran. No amount of negotiations will clear away the dangers of Islamic terror empowered by the god of this world. But the U.S. is now seriously weakened to take on the growing al Qaeda revolution. This is not just a Bush failure. This is judgment on a nation, really a civilization, which though blessed like no other since the history of man began, has turned its back on its Maker.
As Amotz Asa-el, an Israeli journalist with no interest in Biblical realities, simply concluded: “Tragedies call into question the role of chance, error, fate and destiny in human life, as they pit man against forces hopelessly stronger than him. The forces George Bush met, and stood no chance of confronting, were of historic, even biblical dimensions - from crusading zealots, billowing battlefields and collapsing skyscrapers to rising superpowers, gushing markets and soaring ocean waves.” He concludes the blame doesn’t lie in anything Bush did or didn’t do as a leader of the free world. (Ibid., 24Oct08)
Only God knows President Bush’s heart. Only God knows why his presidency ended as it did. But I do not envy the job that awaits the new president, Barack Obama. It will be more of the same - Islamic terrorism, economic crises, natural disasters, a world of wars and rumors of wars - only more so.
At Congregation Tiferet Yeshua:
Israeli Parents Talk About their Children
As told to Tamar Afriat
Eva and Yoel Ratz: (Eva is the Children’s Director)
Because the Messianic Jews of Israel are a tiny minority, most of the time our kids are completely surrounded by a community and culture of non-believers - in school, in their neighborhood, their communities. As parents, it is so important to us that our children will know they aren’t the only ones in their world who are believers, and that they have relationships with other Messianic children their age.
Knowing they are not alone encourages them so much in their walk with the Lord. They know that they’re different, but from their experience at the congregation, they’ll feel that they’re not that different— because they have close friends just like them! At the congregation they gain strength that gives them God’s power to face another week in the world.
As the ones responsible for the children’s ministry, we expend much effort to make sure that the
children will want to come to the congregation. To do that, we have invested heavily in all age groups - to make our services inviting and full of fun activities. However, our ultimate goal is, of course, that they will have a relationship with God their Father and Yeshua their Messiah. That relationship with God will be the core of their being and will carry them through life.
We teach them to draw near to the Lord through prayer. We also strive to give the children tools
in dealing with the many temptations that are everywhere in this decadent city of Tel Aviv and its surrounding suburbs. When our children are confronted and challenged for their faith, we want them to be able to stand in that knowledge and experience of God’s love for them.
We put much effort in the children’s department to make their lessons interesting and exciting
so that the children will want to come and learn, and that they will be encouraged and built up by relationships with one another. However, our ultimate goal is to usher them into a deep relationship with God who will strengthen them and help them to stand in that day when they are challenged, tempted, spurned, or even persecuted for their faith and that they will be powerful witnesses for His name.
Shelly and Ephi Greenberg:
There is nothing more important in the world to us than to give our children an inheritance in the faith of our forefathers - from Abraham to Yeshua’s disciples. Our greatest desire is that God will
be the foundation of their lives as they grow into teenagers, then young adults, and on into adulthood.
We want this new generation of Israelis to be able to say, “This is how we grew up, and this is who we are,” - a privilege few Israelis our age have had. Many new Jewish believers in Israeli society who want to make their faith known to their family and friends often face ostracism or even persecution.
Our goal is to invest in this vision - to help make our congregation a place where the children will really know who God is, who Yeshua - is that they will understand the priceless gift of eternal life. Because we can’t afford for the spiritual education of our children to be boring and unattractive, and because our faith is so important to us, we are devoting a great deal of energy and love to the children’s department. We help in writing curriculum in Hebrew and in teaching. Soon our third child will be born, and we are so thankful our two kids love coming to the congregation. To us, that means everything!
A typical outing for our little ones at Tiferet Yeshua
Limor and Chen Nachshoni:
I just really love the attitude Tiferet Yeshua has concerning the children’s ministry; the congregation has given the children an entire floor. They have their own place in nice classrooms
and our son has a great time in his class. I love the fact that the leadership makes sure there are good teachers who start educating the kids from a young age. The games and activities in addition to the Bible lesson keep the kids interested and give them a positive experience so they don’t get overwhelmed or bored. Israeli kids go to school six days a week so it is very important that the Bible lessons aren’t just another day in school.
||Overall, you can see that the children’s floor is important to the congregation. That attitude is readily seen in the people of the congregation who take care of all the details that go into running the children’s ministry. In my opinion, they’re doing a wonderful job. The children have the supplies and materials they need in the classrooms. They are able to incorporate activities which reinforce the Bible principles they are learning.
Also, bringing your child to a place that’s nice, clean, and taken care of gives you a good feeling as a parent. For us to serve as volunteers in such a nice place, seeing that they really care that it’s organized and pleasant - not that it has to look out of this world - but that it’s a warm atmosphere, just makes it easier. We have been in other congregations where we served under conditions that definitely were much more difficult. It just gives you a feeling of heaviness when you’re serving in sub-standard conditions; just the basic things like a proper sink and kitchen area to do the dishes, and bathrooms that are even in the general vicinity of the classrooms. I really appreciate that we have those things at Tiferet Yeshua, all the little things that make it attractive for the children and for those of us who want to serve in the children’s ministry. And overall, the children feel it—and that’s what matters most!
All week long, my children are in the world. Their father is not a believer, so he can’t give them direction in the Lord at the moment. Our congregation is the place they receive that. I’ve been attending Tiferet Yeshua for five years.
Before that, I was at another congregation that was wonderful for me as an adult, but that was sorely lacking in the children’s department. I came to Tiferet Yeshua for my children. I knew this would be a better place for them. At Tiferet Yeshua they get a spiritual message and positive reinforcement from another person other than me. They learn in interesting and fun ways which draw them in. There are snacks, games and things that kids love.
Here they have a community of other children who are believers, so they know that they’re not alone. At home, it’s just us and we are alone in our faith. At Tiferet Yeshua, they have their whole class. Out there, it’s the whole street, the whole neighborhood, the whole city of non-believers. The children need a believing culture of other children; they need a congregation of their own. On holidays, the children are able to do things which we, on our own, could not afford. With joy I am watching my oldest son, now a teenager, develop into a strong believer.
The youth meet often, go on trips and do really wonderful things together, which gives them so much strength and support in their faith. I know my children are receiving a solid foundation in the Word of God; they have room to breathe and grow here and ultimately, they won’t fall. They will stay in Yeshua’s arms.
From top clockwise: The children lead worship; An outing; Bible lessons through a puppet show; Dressed up for Purim; Making decorations for the Succah at the Feast of Tabernacles
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You can partner with us in the Work of Building the Kingdom of God in Israel. If you send a gift of any size with a postmark of December 2008, you will receive tax credit for this year - even if the gift is received in January 2009.
For example, if you give a gift of $10,000 in 2008, you can save $3,300 in taxes if you are in the 33% tax bracket. And the higher your tax bracket, the more money you save with a charitable gift.
You still have a few days left to make added impact this year in Israel!
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Yeshua's Disciples at Work in Galilee
by Motti Cohen
Congregation Tiferet Yeshua Youth Leader
A month-long campaign for evangelization took place in northern Israel by the “Jews for Jesus” organization last fall. A number of Americans and Europeans joined the Israeli teams for the campaign.
Several of our members of Tiferet Yeshua participated, amongst them myself. I witnessed during the 10 days between the Jewish New Year (Feast of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur - the Days of Awe when Jews reflect upon their lives and repent for their sins. I had been witnessing to people camping out around the Sea of Galilee, but on the fifth day we were sent to a little village near the Lebanese border. I had never before in my life visited that village, but had heard a lot about it during the last Lebanese war between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer 2006, because this village had suffered numerous direct hits from the Hezbollah rockets.
We were a team of four persons. We split up into two teams - each with one Hebrew speaker and one English speaker. We were given the mission of going from door to door, and preaching the Gospel about Yeshua the Messiah to everyone interested.
As we entered the village, it was impossible not to notice that there were numerous synagogues there, and on the doors of the houses were countless stickers of various ultra-Orthodox rabbis and political parties.
It was then that I realized that we were in ultra Orthodox village, and I began to be extremely frightened. I didn’t know how I could preach the Gospel to these people. I was also awfully afraid
of being rejected by my Jewish people, and even of experiencing possible hostility. Already during this campaign, there had been a number of violent attacks on team members in other locations. They had to call the police to cool the people down.
My team member was an English speaking girl from Denmark and we prayed together for success in our task, that the Lord would give us people with an open heart, and that we would have courage to share the Gospel about Yeshua the Messiah.
We entered an apartment building, and one of the first doors that I saw was covered with stickers of the Habbad and Braslav rabbinical movements. We stood in front of this door, and a terrifying fear attacked me as I rang the bell. I even hoped that the doorbell would not be in working order. However, it not only functioned well, it actually made a noise louder that usual!
Then I hoped that no one would be at home, because I was simply panic stricken. Abruptly I saw the handle moving and knew someone was about to open the door. As it opened, I found myself standing opposite an old Jewish man with a long beard, side locks and tassels hanging from his shirt. Standing behind him were his wife and a number of children, all staring at us.
He asked, “How can I help you?”
After a shocked silence of two seconds, I said to him, “Shalom! I am a Messianic Jew. I believe that the Messiah is Yeshua. He is the only one who has fulfilled the Messianic prophesies of the Bible. He came from the tribe of Judah, offspring of the House of David. He was born in Bethlehem, as the prophets foresaw.
I gulped and continued. “He came between the destructions of the First and the Second Temples, as prophesied by Daniel, and most importantly, only through Him can we repent and return to the Lord, because He poured out His blood as a sacrifice for us.
“Another historical fact,” I told him, “is that during the generation when Yeshua was crucified, the second Temple was destroyed and the offering of sacrifices was stopped altogether. In order to repent before God we are in need of a blood sacrifice. It is Yeshua who provided us a sacrifice, as it is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 53.”
The father of the family looked at me in shock, trying to comprehend from where I had appeared out of the blue. We shared a few more sentences, and then he said, “I do not want to argue in front of my family, and I am not interested to hear more.” However, he spoke kindly to me and wished me an easy fast on Yom Kippur, said “Shalom” and closed the door.
I was incredibly relieved and even overjoyed. Though they did not at this juncture receive Yeshua, I was so encouraged because they had actually taken the time to listen to me, and didn’t stone me!
As we went to other homes, I found it already much easier to talk to the Orthodox people. The favor of the Lord came upon us, and some of them actually invited us into their homes, ready to hear all that we had to say about Yeshua.
We had many discussions and debates in that village. Each time that we left a family’s home, I sensed that we had broken through many walls because in most of the cases, at the beginning the people were not willing to agree that Yeshua is the Messiah of Israel. But after a discussion of ten to fifteen minutes, they understood more and more of what I was talking about.
We spoke about the prophesies of the Bible and about issues concerning Jewish tradition. As we talked, I connected important rabbinical beliefs with Yeshua’s life - such as the fact that the Orthodox accept the necessity for blood sacrifice as seen even today in the tradition of sacrificing chickens for their sins before Yom Kippur.
I really sensed that the people started to understand what Messianic Judaism is and why we Jews believe in Yeshua as our Messiah. Normally, we are represented by the media and especially the Orthodox community as not really being Jewish because of our belief in Yeshua. But this time I had the opportunity to emphasize that we are Jews, that we are a Jewish movement. Yeshua is our Jewish Messiah and I myself belong to a priesthood family as my family name is Cohen. (Meaning priest)
At the end of the day, five families in this ultra-Orthodox village agreed to receive the New Testament by mail. We prayed with two of the families, that when the New Testament would arrive to them, they would see that it is the Living Word of God, and not just another book.
It was very exciting for me to pray with them and end the prayer in the Name of Yeshua the Messiah. In one of the homes we prayed for an elderly woman who suffered from various illnesses. We truly sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit during the prayer.
About an hour later I met the son of this woman at a bus stop. He admitted to me that although he does believe in God he was confused as to exactly what that meant to him. He concluded with saying maybe one day he will believe in Yeshua, like me…
I was glad to hear this, especially because at the time of our visit at his home, he didn’t seem to accept the Gospel, and even laughed when I prayed for his mother. Apparently the Lord had touched him during the hour that I didn’t see him.
I really am so grateful to God for all these days that I spent with the ‘Jews for Jesus’ campaign. And I am still amazed at how God opened the hearts of the people, enabling us to share the Gospel with them. It is clear today that Israelis are more open than ever - even when you knock on their doors!
We pray very much that the whole of Israel will be saved. I can testify that many seeds are constantly being sown, and in the coming days we will start to see the fruit blossoming as we have never known it! The day is approaching when this nation will bless all the other nations and be the light of God according to its calling from the beginning of ages.
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The Best of Israel 10-Day Tour
Dear Maoz Partner,
Happy Hanukkah to you and your family, with our best wishes to you at the celebration of the King of Israel!
This month it is our joy to bring you a first-hand report from some of the parents in our Congregation Tiferet Yeshua (The Glory of Yeshua). They talk about their children, the children of Israel our hope and our future!
As pastors in Israel, we cannot think of any greater thrill than to watch the little children in our congregation grow up—become strong teenage believers (surviving the worldly, ungodly influence of Israeli teen peer pressure), serve in the army with a strong testimony of excellence and integrity, and then see them grow into spiritually healthy young adults, marry another believer, and begin their families!
It happens so quickly! In a mere 15 years, a five year old can be a young married man or woman! Our congregation is now 13 years old and we have seen quite a number of our young people marry and start their own families.
These same young people, for whom we invested in materials, labor and prayer, are now themselves investing in the newest generation of babies and children in our congregation! Some of them are working in leadership roles in other congregations. This is one of the most fulfilling dreams we could ever witness in our ministry.
You, our partners, for years have invested in the salvation of these children in Congregation Tiferet Yeshua. Now together we are reaping a dividend in the second generation of believers!
Our children really are the hope of Israel!
They are the ones who will preach the Gospel from one end of the nation to the other.
They will write books, make worship CD’s, and blog in Hebrew to the internet world of Israel’s young people.
They will witness on the streets and go door to door. They will bring their friends and acquaintances to the congregation with the hope and prayer they too will receive salvation.
It is also they who will have to contend with the powers of darkness and the birth pangs of the end of the age. They will be the overcomers, taking with them into eternity the coming great harvest of souls.
The investments you make in this generation and especially our children in the nation of Israel will increase and bring forth fruit until the Lord comes!
Our children’s department head gave us their new 2009 budget requesting approximately $1,000 per month more for:
- new Bible studies for children of all the ages which are being developed and/or translated into Hebrew.
- more equipment in the classes for the growing number of children,
- activities, so vital for the children in making relationships with other believing children without which there is small chance they will remain in a Messianic congregation.
Since Israel’s prophets and disciples gave the world so much, it is honorable and good that the world-wide family of God now returns to the children of Israel the opportunity for them to find eternal life.
In an uncertain world, the Lord still gives us great opportunities to make an impact for His Kingdom. Nothing in the world can be better than that!
This month, please consider blessing the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL! It’s an investment with a big return!
Your partners in the Kingdom of God,
Ari & Shira Sorko-Ram
P.S. Whatever area of ministry that is dearest to your heart is needed in Israel just as in your home area whether it is children, evangelism, discipleship, worship, publishing, helping the poor and needy among the believers or reaching out to the lost through media and technology. Just designate your gift this month to the area of your greatest interest. Every gift counts!
Partner with Maoz today by supporting our projects:
Maoz Israel Ministries | istandwithisrael | Hebrew Books
Congregation Tiferet Yeshua | Coffee House Outreach
Media Projects | Hebrew New Testament | Burkina Faso
Arab Congregations | Persecuted Believers
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